I hope you have all had a splendid couple of days being festive and what not.
We got up at nine yesterday morning. One of the things I am most grateful for is that my children have never been Christmas early risers. It is a gift and a joy.
Because the girls didn’t have to rush off anywhere with their dad, we had a very leisurely morning of opening presents and larking around with things. I think the most successful purchases this year seem to have been kazoos for all. Tallulah in particular, is most enamoured, and has dreams of kazoo based stardom. It has been extremely noisy but very entertaining.
Another winner was a contraption to core and peel apples, something I have long had a hankering for, and bought for us all. It is exceptionally cool, and makes spirals of perfectly peeled and cored apples. For the record, it also works on potatoes.
We brunched on eggs Benedict and smoked salmon, and then everyone disappeared to do their own thing for a while. A contented peace reigned for a couple of hours, before everyone came and helped me prep the dinner.
The children and Jason watched Scrooged while the dinner cooked (we had beef, as usual). The cat and I sloped off to snuggle down and read The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley. We had a most delightful time of it.
The evening was spent watching Miranda (we are sulking with Dr. Who), and reading.
Today I have made trifle and transported it to granny’s house, where we feasted on a buffet of epic proportions which we kept returning to in little flurries throughout the day.
We swapped gifts and sat by the fire failing to do the cross word. We watched Hot Fuzz, which we greatly enjoyed, and then played board games purchased by Uncle Robber, which we also greatly enjoyed.
Just as the last game finished we looked out the window to find huge, fat snow flakes hurtling down from the sky. It was pretty perfect, and we drove home in a splendid snow storm, which is now, sadly, turning into rain.
I have been incredibly spoiled with all sorts of lovely treats. Hotel Chocolat goodies featured, as did cookery books by Elizabeth David, gorgeous guide books to London, three bears bowls by Heather Alstead, Amazon vouchers which I have used to stock up on more cookery books, and the latest Sarah Waters novel, vintage dresses and, of course, the beautiful Orla Kiely shoes I have been eyeing up for weeks.
This evening I read this article by Kate Gross, who died yesterday, of colon cancer. This is an article she wrote for The Times about Christmas, reproduced here on her blog.
The last two paragraphs really strike home for me.
She reminds us that Christmas is not the only day to celebrate how lucky we are. She reminds us that part of celebrating life is knowing that the bad bits and the boring bits and the every day bits make us just as much alive as the bits where we are all desperately striving for joy we feel we must have.
She reminds us of the importance of every day of our lives, the good bits and the bad.
It’s what I think.
I don’t believe in slaving away to celebrate one or two days that we, as humans, have designated to be the days on which we should all be happy. The weight of too much expectation rides on it. We ask too much of ourselves too few times a year, and expect so little of the rest of the year.
I believe that every, single day we are on this earth is worth trying to make the best one we have. I don’t mean we have to open presents twenty four hours a day, or be Mother Teresa. I just mean that we should see the beauty in the ordinary, the miraculous in the every day, and try to accept the imperfections along with the wonderful things.
The things I have treasured about these last few days with my family is the peace to just be with them. The time we have allowed ourselves to be who we are, and enjoy what we have with the people we love. The unfolding of the every day rituals that make our family life perfectly what it is. These are the things I will treasure. These are the things that will shore me up in the painful times which will come in my future life. These are the things that I will hold the dearest, and the more of those every day memories I can make, the more blessed I will be.
I wish you happy.